I don't think trauma ever goes away, nor would I necessarily want it to, because it has shaped a huge part of who I am today. How trauma is handled is really the key. Along with taking care of yourself, choosing happiness, and finding forgiveness, I have learned that one of the most powerful things you can do in the face (or aftermath) of trauma, is to show the causer of trauma compassion.
This advice was given to me and I immediately put it into action. It has been life-changing for me.
I read an article the other day about a black man who has gone around befriending KKK members since the '80's, and in many cases has ended up being the reason for certain members to leave the klan. He didn't go around trying to convert klan members, but rather to seek out an answer. "How can you hate me when you don't even know me?" His journey shows us that the power of kindness and compassion is immeasurable. It wasn't like he was kind and compassionate for their well-being, but he just was--maybe not even for himself, maybe just to be a good human being to another human being.
I was previously in an abusive relationship--physically, verbally, emotionally--and I was destroyed in that relationship. When I finally got the help I needed to get out, I did everything in my power to climb out of that very, very dark, dark hole. I went to therapy, I leaned on my family and friends, and I learned to talk. I focused on me, I went to law school, I found purpose in life, I strengthened my faith, and I have a budding career that I love.
I wish I could say the past is in the past, but unfortunately for me, the past hasn't stayed in the past as I would like it to. It popped up sporadically and then more and more frequently as I discovered my abuser was trying to contact me. I've done what I need to do to keep myself and my family safe, but his behavior caused great fear in me, which then made me angry. I've moved on and grown so far past this, how can it/he still cause so much fear? I don't want to be afraid. I felt dirty having any association with him. I'm happy. My life is incredible. I have amazing family, friends, and colleagues. Go away.
I called my therapist after not seeing her for a few years, and she is the one who gave me the compassion advice. She said that sometimes the best way to conquer that fear and anger is compassion. My ex-boyfriend is deeply mentally disturbed. So, how miserable he must be in his head. How miserable he must be. It's not about pitying him, but feeling compassion for him, because it must be difficult for him. Life must be difficult for him. That's horrible that anyone should have to live a life like that.
I had forgiven him long ago, but I was never able to pray for him. I pray for everyone and everything. I prayed that his mother is well, because it must be hard on her as well. But I could never bring myself to pray for him...until I learned to feel compassion for him. I pray he gets the help he needs. I pray he gets the support he needs. Compassion immediately dispelled the fear and anger I felt. It helped me break the connection between myself and him that made me feel so dirty. Anytime trauma comes back, even if it's caused by something totally different, I remember that compassion is my greatest weapon. It is my superhero power.
If someone causes you pain, fear, anger, or any kind of trauma, always take care of yourself and your safety, and remember compassion. I have a feeling it will take a great load off of you.
BIG LOVE & HUGS